How to Sell on eBay: A Beginners Guide

16th March 2020, 2:02pm in Business by Eva Malpass

Selling on online marketplaces such as eBay have never been as popular as they are today. Maintaining their reputation as a giant amongst eCommerce sites, eBay remains as the top choice for sellers wanting to start a business online today. At Interparcel want you to make the most of your sales channel- be it saving money on eBay postage costs or selling old clothes, we've put together an easy guide to get you signed up and ready to sell!

1. Set up a profile


If you're looking to set up a eBay profile to sell small, infrequent items then having a thoroughly detailed and professional looking profile is unnecessary, but either way it's good to add information that will help to let customers know you're a legitimate seller.

Picking a username is a good place to start.

  • eBay usernames have to be at least 2 characters long and can't contain '@', '&', parentheses, apostrophes or greater/less than signs.
  • eBay won't allow usernames which include the word 'eBay' in individual usernames – This is a measure to avoid sellers who aim to pose of official eBay members or lead traffic to other, less reputable websites.
  • Usernames are often taken, as millions of people sell daily on eBay its worth coming up with alternatives if yours is already in use.
  • You can always change your username – every 30 days you can rename your profile but be cautious in doing so as your regular customers may not be able to find you again.
  • Adding information to your profile

  • Uploading a clear picture of yourself or your business logo can make you appear professional and trustworthy.
  • If you intend on selling expensive items adding more information is best to enable customers to understand your credentials, for example if you're a retailer, collector or just a person with a speciality.

2. Stretch your accounts legs before selling

An important element of eBay's Top Seller's status and of the website as a whole is feedback ratings. Buyer's take notice of your reviews, especially if you're selling pricey stuff.

  • Buy a few small items to build up a good reputation and learn how to list items on eBay. By processing your payment as soon as you buy the seller may leave you a review to help to establish you as a reliable account.

3. Know your numbers

woman on ipad

When selling on eBay, 10% of your final sale price plus postage goes to them. Offering up to 1000 free listings in one month, the website has two main seller fees for every standard listing.

  • The 'insertion' fee – This only applies to those sellers who have used up their 1000 free listings in a month and charges 35p for each listing made subsequent to this made clear in eBay's terms and conditions.
  • The 'final value' fee – As mentioned, this 10% goes straight to eBay and is mainly for introducing you, the seller, to the buyer. Additionally, if they buyer pays via PayPal, they will also take 2.9% of the final value price as well as 30p per transaction made.

4. Get your things in order

As spring approaches and we all mull over how to get rid of the clutter, but too often after culling the hoards, we leave the black bin bags to sit idle in our spare rooms for the remainder of the year. With eBay, selling old clothes, CDs and books can make you a profit whilst you clear the clutter.

  • Gather up old clothes – Vintage clothes go for lots on eBay, with some band t-shirts, coats and shoes from the 1990s selling for up to £400! Looking at the most popular items sold on eBay can help you estimate the price of your items by seeing what others have sold for.
  • Selling old books, CD's and games on eBay is a good way to make some cash, often out of pocket students turn to sites like eBay to purchase books at below the standard retail rate.

5. Take good quality pictures

photograph your items

The picture is paramount. It's true a picture can speak a thousand words, so often a good photo of your item can be much more effective than a half decent description. Although you might not have to go to great lengths to take a professional-looking picture of your Boyzone CD, for most listings you will.

  • Take pictures in good lighting, make sure your pictures show all the detail of your item as to avoid misleading the buyer.
  • Use a clean, preferably plain background. Most of the best-selling items use background that are white and clean indicating the kind of care the seller takes with their items and sales.

6. Describe in detail

Be honest and realistic, descriptions can be a useful marketing tool. You want to emphasise the items best qualities but be truthful about item specifics. Think about what you would want to know about the item – eBay can help here as they will give you sections to fill in:

  • Condition – This one is pretty important when it comes down to getting good reviews as a seller. You'll want to be honest about whether the item is 'Used' or 'New', so your buyer knows exactly what they're getting.
  • Item Specifics – This section is optional but it's a good idea to fill it in still. Say if you were looking to send a Superman figurine, you could note Marvel as one of the item's specific characteristics as that's the manufacturers name.
  • Further Details – Here is where you can demonstrate your knowledge as a seller. Describe any minute details missed by the general specifics section, but don't write anything too lengthy!

7. Selecting a shipping option

woman looking at watch

Connecting your eBay account to Interparcel's handy Shipping Manager enables you to transfer your buyer's information and process which courier service suits you and your budget. Or if you're just looking to send a few one-off parcels our quick quote tool can help you find the right service and price for your delivery.

  • Using our shipping integration tool organises all your sales into one portal, making your sales simple. Alternatively, if you're not a regular parcel sender, using Interparcel to send any package works out far cheaper as we compare prices from the globes best couriers. Just get a quick quote and make sure you've measured your parcels weight and dimensions correctly to see how much you could save.
  • Select the service that best suits you and your customer's needs be it Next Day or Economy Delivery.
  • Book your delivery and pay!

All you need to do now is drop your parcel off or wait in for your courier to collect it. Connecting your eBay account with Interparcel makes sure that the stress is taken out of organising deliveries. We can save you the chaos and the cost.

8. Knowing the lingo

Veteran sellers on eBay often use short cuts to cram as much detail as they can into the title without exceeding the character count. As useful as they may be, refrain from using only abbreviations as newcomers to the site won't have the foggiest.

Here's some frequently used terms:

  • NWOT – New without tags
  • NWOB – New without box
  • VTG – Vintage
  • HTF – Hard to find
  • VGC – Very good condition
  • BNIB – Brand new in box
  • BN – Brand new

9. The difference between bidding and buy it now

When selling items you can choose to auction it at price which starts at your selected point and hopefully increases as people bid. This option allows for 10 days' worth of bidding, choosing the longest period of time is best to allow for potential bidders to stumble across your item.

The 'Buy it now' option allows you to upload a fixed price listing, where purchase can take place immediately. This option is popular among business sellers on eBay, as they can list lots of items at a time without waiting for auction periods to end. Keep in mind that your feedback score needs to be 0 or higher and your item must be 99p or above.

10. Popularity is important

woman looking at watch

It's crucial to title your item so that you reach your desired customers. For example, if you were searching for a 'modern minimalistic oak wicker lampshade' this wouldn't bring up many result. But if you simplified this to 'wooden wicker lampshade' your online store will be far more likely to come up when searched.

If you need help finding clear terms for your item, you can use Goofbids eBay Pulse Tool to search the most popular titles of items by category.

11. Learn these time tricks

According to eBay, shoppers visit the site most on Sunday evenings. So when setting the end time for your auction it's a good idea to have it end then.

It's also a good rule of thumb to set your auction to end at a time when most people will be free – so weekday evenings or weekend afternoons so that those sneaky bidders can leap in last minute and win your auction.

12. Stick to the rules

If you're someone who buys items or makes them with the intention to sell them on, you're a trader. By law the customer has the same statutory rights buying from you as they would buying from a shop on the high street. This means that under eBay's Consumer Contract Regulations the buyer has 14 days to inform you of any returns, and another 14 days to return it.

Traders have to register with eBay as a business account, so be careful when describing your items to minimise the volume of items that are returned because of inconsistencies between description and actual quality.

13. You're ready to go!

Have fun with your eBay shop and make money with the click of a button. Be it a maths textbook or a Gucci handbag someone out there will love it!

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